I’d been saying for weeks/months I have to start blogging again. Then ‘stuff’ happens. I won’t whine about how hard it is to juggle daily tasks needed to have a successful writing career. (According to ‘someone’, it ‘aint happening anyway). Still I’m trying. In between writing new books, I need to promote the book that’s been published. You all know it, Must Love Fashion…blah blah blah.
In my marketing efforts, I reached out to some local book stores here on Long Island. No surprise, there aren’t many. So far, I’ve been turned down by one, because “I’m not famous enough” to bring in a large crowd. They also wouldn’t give me a date to see if I can scrounge up the forty people they said I had to ‘guarantee’. What is this a wedding? Oh… and books I don’t sell… I still have to pay for. So I’m not sure what the downside was for them. Other than maybe an author reading/signing with no attendees. But isn’t that part of their responsibility? Don’t they have customers they can reach out to? It’s another example of so much of the marketing responsibility falling on the author. What’s amusing is that I looked up some of their other events. They did have a singer scheduled. And according to Facebook, over 200 people were listed as GOING. Newsflash… they don’t have space for 200 people.
Anyway… I emailed a few other stores. One store wrote me back. A store I’ve seen other local writers like me promote that they were doing signings. In the email, the woman who responded said, “because Roane Publishing (my publisher) is a self-publisher (it’s not), their terms don’t work for us.” Since joining LIRW, I’ve met and gotten to know a lot of great “Indie” authors. Legit, talented and most who’ve chosen the Indie road and didn’t end up there because they had no other options. But if I was to be dismissed SOLELY because I was being perceived as being ‘self-published’ I’d felt it necessary to correct the woman. In the end it didn’t matter. You only have one chance to make a first impression. After I corrected her, she asked what other events I was doing, I gave her my meager list and I never heard from her again.
This was a few weeks ago. Why am I complaining about this now? The heart of the bookstore woman’s issue was that because she’d ‘found-out’ my publisher uses CreateSpace for the print copies of my book, she didn’t think there was a retail method in which her store could purchase my books. And here’s where I messed up. Neither did I. While nosing around on my publisher’s website this morning, I saw there is a “Retailer” link. And sure enough my Publisher will sell to retailers and bookstores with the same terms other publishers will. (Not the exact same discount- but close). AND they will take returns.
But here’s what the woman obviously did. In my email, I have a link (Thanks Bitly) to Amazon to buy my book. She clicked on that Amazon link (Again, thanks to Bitly tracking when and where links are clicked from) and scrolled down, saw CreateSpace, assumed oh, self-published author, and immediately dismissed me. She obviously didn’t go to Roane’s website. Instead just made up an excuse saying Roane wouldn’t give her the terms she needed.
At least now I know to include that ‘Retailer’ link for future requests.
So sadly, “self-publishing” is still highly stigmatized. It’s funny because Amazon…who started as a ‘bookseller’, said BRING IT ON to Indie authors and many are doing fabulously on their platform. For all the little stores who say Amazon is putting them out of business, here’s another reason. Traditional book stores are shunning a large % of authors today (Indie and Small Press) while Amazon is embracing them. (While also screwing some of them, but that’s the topic of another post).